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Reviewed by Maria Stoica for Readers' Favorite
Hugh the Southern Flame by R.J. Tolson is the second book in the young adult fantasy series, Chaos Chronicles. In the world of Evos, the Nios Crystal is said to be the most powerful weapon of all since it granted control over fear itself. Espers are people with supernatural powers who are ranked on five levels, based on their power and ability to control it. Burst City is the most technologically advanced settlement in this world and its prosperity is assured by the agents. These are highly powerful people who go on missions into the dangerous lands beyond the walls of Burst and who make sure their city stays on top of the others. Aodhfin, the most powerful of the Burst agents, managed to find the Nios Crystal, but lost it and he was banished for this terrible mistake.
Presently, Hugh, Aodhfin's seventeen-year-old son, an untrained, level one pyrokinesis Esper who discovered his abilities while being bullied at the orphanage, is sent into Burst City to study. Having lived all his life in his father’s shadow and been abused for his predecessor’s failures, Hugh is delighted to learn that he had been selected to enter the three phased trial of becoming an agent of Burst. But, the reputation of the trial is fierce, having claimed lives in the past. To free himself from his father’s mistakes and find friendship, Hugh is willing to risk everything.
The second book can be read without knowledge of the first volume; however, the latter’s readers will be delighted to see certain symbols and patterns repeat themselves as R.J. Tolson prepares the ground for the bigger picture - the four demigods chosen to stop Chaos. Hugh the Southern Flame is the tale of the second chosen one. Throughout the story, we follow Hugh’s point of view as he describes the places he visits, the wonders he witnesses, and gives rich details on his training and fighting. There isn’t any shocking violence, but there is a constant stress as the whole world seems to be against Hugh, and he struggles to find friends and the truth about himself and his father. Overall, I greatly enjoyed this novel from Chaos Chronicles and await its sequel. I would recommend it to readers who want a vivid taste of the warrior’s journey in conquering fear. It is an inner journey as much as it is an outer one.